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August comps: Not great, but as expected

Fourth week of August year-over-year % change

Week ended 8/8 8/15 8/22 829 Month Target
*Including chain stores and traditional department stores
Source: Johnson Redbook Index
Department stores* -6.2  -6.6 -7.1 -6.9 -6.7 -6.4
Discounters -3.1 -3.4 -2.9 -3.4 -2.9  -3.1
Redbook Index -4.2 -4.5 -4.4 -4.1 -4.3 -4.3

New York – Retailer comp sales declined in August but were broadly on target, the Johnson Redbook reported today.

Same-store sales in the final week of the month fell 4.1% after dropping 4.4% the previous week. Comps were down 4.3% compared to August of 2008. Comps compared to June were fairly flat – down 0.6%.

Department stores turned in a slightly worse than expected performance with comps for the month down 6.7% compared to a targeted decline of 6.4% in August.

With consumers still focused on needs and value, the discounter segment’s 2.9% decline was better than 3.1% drop Redbook had projected for the month.

Consumers were focused in the final month of August on seasonal and back-to-school, according to Catlin Levis, Redbook analyst.

“Back-to-school sales are not yet over, especially in the apparel and accessories classifications as tennagers are increasingly shopping later into the season for fall clothes after school begins,” she said. “Early sales figures may not be wholly indicative for the season.

Redbook issued a preliminary comp projection for September of a 4.0% decline year-over-year and a 1.5% decline compared to August.

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